Founded in 1954, Grupo Industrial Crimidesa, a family business in its third generation, has become the largest European manufacturer of sodium sulfate. How has the company evolved over the years?
Our mission is to sustainably contribute to the creation of a premium end products for the customer with our raw materials. This has served as our mission since the founding of the company and has helped set us apart from our competitors in the mining sector. We have always been one step ahead both in terms of sustainability and technology. Crimidesa started out as a small family business with limited resources. However, through dedicated efforts we have greatly evolved as a company. Early on, we realized that exports were the key to growth, which forced us to focus on both European and transoceanic markets. In fact, we now export 95% of what we produce. Thanks to hard work and a pioneering vision, we went from being a small business with limited capital to a global industry leader. As far as mining is concerned, it is important to distinguish between industrial and metallic mining. Our focus is industrial mining. Metallic mining is far more selective and requires specific exploitation processes. Industrial mining, on the other hand, is carried out on a large scale. It involves huge deposits that allow for the industrial exploitation of a given raw material. Following this philosophy, the company has diversified in other markets, such as sodium feldspar, a raw material used in the ceramic industry. We are exploiting a massive deposit of albitite in Morocco, with the focus on obtaining a premium quality product for our customers.
Which materials do you exploit, and what are they used for?
Our most important product is sodium sulfate, which is most commonly used in washing powder. However, this is not our end product as such. Instead, the sodium sulfate serves as a base for the other washing powder components. It is also used in paper production, sheet glass manufacturing, the textile industry, enzymes for animal feed, and so on. Crimidesa is certified to manufacture products that are suitable for animal consumption. This certification is extremely difficult to achieve and maintain.
Who are your main customers, and what are your main export markets?
Some of our customers include well-known multinational giants, such as Unilever, Procter & Gamble, and more. That said, we also work with Portuguese paper companies, Brazilian home care companies, and others. It is fair to say that our customer base is extremely varied. In terms of exports, our main market is Latin America due in large part to cost-effective shipping. At the end of the day, it all comes down to profitability. Our products are particularly expensive to transport. Therefore, we are more competitive in those areas in which we have access to economical shipping. In that regard, our range of options are somewhat limited. However, we do have customers in other areas, such as Pakistan, Japan, and so on. The premium quality of our products has earned us clients in these so-called remote areas. In many cases, clients who require a specific product are willing to negotiate with us despite the geographical location. That said, commercial trade routes are often a deciding factor. For instance, South America exports large quantities of wood to Europe, which therefore provides us with a key trade route.